Former Charles Manson Disciple Recommended For Parole

| by Jonathan Constante
Lesley Van Houten, one of Charles Manson's disciplesLesley Van Houten, one of Charles Manson's disciples

A former Charles Manson disciple who admitted she would have killed babies during her murder streak in 1969 has been recommended for release by California parole officials.

Leslie Van Houten, 66, went into graphic detail about her involvement in the murders of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca in August 1969 during a parole hearing on April 14, the NY Post reported.

Van Houten, who was 19 at the time, said she was with Charles Manson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles "Tex" Watson when they broke into the Los Feliz residence and tied up Leno and Rosemary.

Manson reportedly instructed his disciples to make the killings appear less "gruesome" than the night before, when he ordered the murders of five other people, including Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.

"[Watson] told Pat and I to go into the kitchen and get knives, and we took Mrs. LaBianca into the bedroom and put a pillowcase over her head," Van Houten recalled, according to the 210 page parole board transcript obtained by the NY Post.

"I wrapped the lamp cord around her head to hold the pillowcase on her head. I went to hold her down," she added.

Van Houten said they could hear the "guttural sounds" and "struggles" of Leno, who was being stabbed repeatedly in another room.

According to Van Houten, Rosemary began jetting forward and screaming "what are you doing."

"And I tried to hold her down more, and Pat went to stab her on the collarbone and the knife bent," she explained.

Van Houten then reportedly told Watson "we can’t kill her, it’s not working." That’s when Watson passed her the knife and told her to "do something."

"And I stabbed Mrs. LaBianca in the lower torso with the knife he gave me," Van Houten said. "Coroner’s reports say between 14 and 16 [times]."

Presiding Commissioner Ali Zarrinnam questioned Van Houten about her unwavering devotion to Charles Manson.

"You would have done anything at this point, right?" Zarrinnam asked Van Houten. "If there were babies in the home, would you have killed babies, newborns, toddlers?"

"I think I would have if he’d have said," Van Houten responded.

But now Van Houten, who was sentenced to life in prison, could be released from the California Institution for Women.

The panel ruled that Van Houten exhibited good behavior while in prison after undergoing counseling, the Daily Mail reported.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, Van Houten has taken “self-help programs, classes and [counseling]” and provided an “insight [into] why she committed the crimes.”

Van Houten said her 41-year-old son burst into tears at the hearing.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California will make the final decision on whether Van Houten will be released. He is expected to announce his decision in the coming months.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cory La Bianca, Leno’s daughter said she disagreed with the ruling.

“We all need to be held responsible for our behavior,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The least we can do, for someone who commits a crime against another human being, is to keep them in jail.”

Sources: NY Post, Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times / Photo Credit: Popperfoto, AP via Daily Mail, NBC News

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